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Centurion Murphy To Start For Connacht

Centurion Murphy To Start For Connacht

Connacht head coach Pat Lam has named his team to face Munster in round 11 of the RaboDirect PRO12 at Thomond Park on Friday (kick-off 7.15pm).

There are three changes to the Connacht side that beat the Newport Gwent Dragons in the last round of the competition.

Scrum half Frank Murphy will earn his 100th Connacht cap when he starts at scrum half. The Corkman joined Connacht in 2008 but missed out on last season due to injury. This fixture against Munster will represent his fourth game of the season.

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Connacht’s leading try scorer Fionn Carr has been named on the right wing, while Gavin Duffy moves to full-back to allow Ireland international Robbie Henshaw switch to the centre.

In the pack, the front five remains unchanged from last weekend but the back row sees Andrew Browne promoted from the bench to start at blindside flanker, while John Muldoon moves to the openside berth.

Eoin McKeon makes up an all-Galway back row, wearing the number 8 jersey.

On the replacements bench, lock Aly Muldowney returns to the fray and the 20-year-old Academy back Darragh Leader has been brought in as cover.

Speaking about the westerners’ preparations for this derby clash, head coach Pat Lam said: “Despite being boosted by the win last Saturday against the Dragons, we lost a couple of guys through that last game.

“It’s hugely disappointing to have to plan without Dave (McSharry), especially on the back of losing our other midfielders Danie (Poolman), Craig (Ronaldson) and Kyle (Tonetti) to injury.

“Kieran Marmion has had a high workload this season having played in every game and taking part in a two-day national camp earlier this week. So he is named on the bench for tomorrow’s game.

“We’re delighted for Frank to achieve his 100th Connacht cap, especially after such a long road to recovery last season.

“Jake (Heenan) joins Willie Faloon on the injured list which is another huge loss to a crucial position for us. But John (Muldoon) has shown in the past that he has the skillset and experience to switch sides in the back row.”

He added: “We’re really looking forward to the game. These interprovincial games are huge occasions and a source of great pride for the players.

“It’s a massive challenge as Munster are flying high at the top of the PRO12 table, they’re topping their own Heineken Cup pool and we haven’t beaten them down there since 1967!

“We have shown this season that if we go through the processes and bring heart to our game-plan, we can get the outcome we all want. That’s what we have to do tomorrow.”

CONNACHT (v Munster): Gavin Duffy; Fionn Carr, Robbie Henshaw, Eoin Griffin, Matt Healy; Dan Parks, Frank Murphy; Brett Wilkinson, Jason Harris-Wright, Nathan White, Michael Kearney, Craig Clarke (capt), Andrew Browne, John Muldoon, Eoin McKeon.

Replacements: David Heffernan, Denis Buckley, Rodney Ah You, Aly Muldowney, George Naoupu, Kieran Marmion, Jack Carty, Darragh Leader.